Routledge – 2013 – 152 pages
Series: Thinking in Action
Opinionated and example-filled, this extremely concise and accessible book provides a survey of some fundamental and longstanding debates about the nature of music. The central arguments and ideas of historical and contemporary philosophers are presented with the goal of making them as accessible as possible to general readers who have no background in philosophy. The emphasis is on instrumental music, but examples are drawn from many cultures as well as from Western classical, jazz, folk, and popular music.
This is a great introduction to the philosophy of music – accessible yet sophisticated and comprehensive – that is distinguished by the range and variety of musical examples with which it illustrates the issues.
Stephen Davies, University of Auckland
Ted Gracyk’s On Music is the best brief overview there is of the core philosophical questions about music. It’s a great introduction to philosophy for music-lovers, packed with a wide range of pertinent musical examples, from birdsong to bluegrass, Romanticism to ragas. And for those already familiar with the questions it is a rare opportunity to see how a philosopher at the top of his game sees one set of answers hanging together – a unified vision of the nature and value of music.
Andrew Kania, Trinity University
"Gracyk writes clearly and cogently, in a philosopher’s idiom, about what is important about music. [He] supports his argument with copious examples from Western classical, folk, jazz, blues , pop, and Hindustani music. Summing Up: Recommended."
J.M Carvalho, Villanova University, in Choice
Preface Chapter 1 More Than Meets the Ear: Music and Art Chapter 2 With and Without Words: Listening with Understanding Chapter 3 Music and Emotion Chapter 4 The Siren Voice of Transcendence References Index
Theodore Gracyk is Department Chair and Professor of Philosophy at Minnesota State University Moorhead